Join Date: Sep 2007
Originally Posted by Ruby2
I want to go back in time and smack whoever decided that Turkey was to be the featured food of Thanksgiving.
What wikipedia say
Men eating a Thanksgiving dinner during World War I
According to what traditionally is known as "The First Thanksgiving," the 1621 feast between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag at Plymouth Colony contained turkey, waterfowl, venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. William Bradford noted that, "besides waterfowl, there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many." Many of the foods that were included in that feast (except, notably, the seafood) have since gone on to become staples of the modern Thanksgiving dinner.
The use of the turkey in the USA for Thanksgiving precedes Lincoln's nationalization of the holiday in 1863. Alexander Hamilton proclaimed that no "Citizen of the United States should refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day," and many of the Founding Fathers (particularly Benjamin Franklin) had high regard for the wild turkey as an American icon, but turkey was uncommon as Thanksgiving fare until after 1800. By 1857, turkey had become part of the traditional dinner in New England.
A Thanksgiving Day dinner served to the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935 included pickles, green olives, celery, roast turkey, oyster stew, cranberry sauce, giblet gravy, dressing, creamed asparagus tips, snowflake potatoes, baked carrots, hot rolls, fruit salad, mince meat pie, fruit cake, candies, grapes, apples, French drip coffee, cigars and cigarettes.
Turkey being the most common main dish of a Thanksgiving dinner, Thanksgiving is sometimes colloquially called “Turkey Day.” In 2006, American turkey growers were expected to raise 270 million turkeys, to be processed into five billion pounds of turkey meat valued at almost $8 billion, with one third of all turkey consumption occurring in the Thanksgiving-Christmas season, and a per capita consumption of almost 18 pounds.
Most Thanksgiving turkeys are stuffed with a bread-based stuffing and roasted. Sage is the traditional herb added to the stuffing (also called dressing), along with chopped celery, carrots, and onions. Deep-fried turkey is rising in popularity, requiring special fryers to hold the large bird, and reportedly leading to fires and bad burns for those who fail to take care when dealing with a large quantity of very hot oil. In more recent years it is also true that as the wild population of turkeys has rebounded in most of the US, some will hunt and dress their turkey in the woods and then freeze it until meal preparation.
Butterball, a national turkey producer, runs a well-known hotline (the "Turkey Talk Line") for those who need assistance cooking a turkey.
Alternatives to turkey
Non-traditional foods other than turkey are sometimes served as the main dish for a Thanksgiving dinner. Ham is often served alongside turkey in many households. Goose and duck, foods which were traditional European centerpieces of Christmas dinners before being displaced, are now sometimes served in place of the Thanksgiving turkey. Sometimes, fowl native to the region where the meal is taking place is used; for example, an article in Texas Monthly magazine suggested quail as the main dish for a Texan Thanksgiving feast. John Madden, who appeared on television for the Thanksgiving Classic every year from 1981 to 2001, frequently advertised his fondness for the turducken, which is in fact three birds (turkey, duck and chicken) nested inside each other and cooked together; he has since disavowed the dish. In a few areas of the West Coast of the United States, Dungeness crab is common as an alternate main dish, as crab season starts in early November."Similarly, Thanksgiving falls within deer hunting season in the Northeastern United States, which encourages the use of venison as a centerpiece. Sometimes a variant recipe for cooking turkey is used; for example, a Chinese recipe for goose could be used on the similarly-sized American bird. Vegetarians or vegans may try Tofurky, a tofu-based roast, a Field Roast, which is a wheat-based product, or a special seasonal dish, such as stuffed squash. In Alaskan villages, whale meat is sometimes eaten. Irish immigrants have been known to have prime rib of beef as their centerpiece as beef was once a rarity back in Ireland; in the past, families would save up money for this as a special sign of newfound prosperity and hope. In the United States, a new globalist approach to Thanksgiving has become popular due to the impact of massive immigration on the country. Some take the basic Thanksgiving ingredients, and reinvent them using flavors, techniques, and traditions from their own cuisines, while others celebrate the holiday with a large festive meal with or without turkey. Given the working holiday it is also common for immigrant communities in North America to participate in the holiday by launching their own celebrations of the holiday. Thus, it is not uncommon to find Chinese and other large immigrant communities celebrating Thanksgiving in the same family spirit but with the food of the feast being of their own respective cultures instead.